“The Smell Of Autumn”

Today was pleasantly temperate. We took an early drive into the forest where the wider roads are often crossed by hoofed animals who make the own tracks into the woodland.

We stopped at the junction between Crow Hill and Charles’s Lane for me to photograph examples.

The track forks with one tine running alongside Charles’s Lane

and the other crossing it to

continue beside Crow Hill.

Serendipitously, as I was making this record, a young equestrienne left the hill, crossed the lane,

and continued on down the slope. The horseshoe in this picture will be leaving its own print in the dusty soil;

the cloven , heart-shaped, depression in this will have been left by one of the string of cattle who are the real sappers of this terrain.

A couple of keen, fit, cyclists who stopped at this junction struggled to find a cycle track with the aid of their modern device. I offered them an example of old technology in the the form of an Ordnance Survey map. The woman said she preferred old technology, perused and returned it once they had established that they would probably need to continue on the road for a while. The gentleman recently cycled from Land’s End to John O’ Groats with a companion who had received two knee replacements three years ago. I suppose this should have been somewhat encouraging.

The first of these samples of verge detritus was photographed on the edge of Crow Hill, the second at Ibsley,

perhaps stamped on by an angry cow.

Outside Burley a group gathered beside a pony being fed by a young girl. At one point the animal turned away from the hand that the young lady extended, but later thought better of it.

“The smell of autumn”, fondly uttered Jackie as the scent of oak smoke from burning branches drifted into our nostrils.

We followed a splendid veteran car through Ibsley. The driver indicated that we should pass him. We waited on ahead so I could photograph him from the front. He turned off into a side road. Perhaps there cannot be too many happy accidents in one day.

We enjoyed a late breakfast at Hockey’s Farm shop in South Gorley.

A pair of young donkeys, showing signs of moulting, stopped for a snack in the middle of the road outside.

This afternoon Ronan of Tom Sutton Heating visited to check on our central heating problem. He diagnosed a drop in pressure resulting from a hidden leak in the system. He applied two cans of stuff designed to seek out and seal it.

This afternoon, Jackie gave the lavender in the Rose Garden a good haircut. She was not alone. “Where’s Nugget?” (10)

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent beef in red wine; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender runner beans I picked earlier. The Culinary Queen drank Blue Moon and I drank Tesco’s finest Western Cape Malbec 2017.

A Drum Roll

This morning I rediscovered an album of elderly colour slides I had thought lost. I scanned a selection from May 1989.

Sam managed to set this drum rolling across the lawn at Lindum House;

Louisa preferred the inside drum roll

Kate, our popular child-sitter, was an excellent birthday party emcee. This was Louisa’s seventh.

Jessica took a rest in the hammock.

Late this afternoon we collected the Modus from the excellent Downton Service Station and Jackie drove the newly service vehicle into the forest.

Beside the undulating, winding, road to Burley

we encountered another bay pony pulling up its clear vegetable soup from the bed of a forest pool in which it was reflected among the surrounding golden gorse bushes.

We ventured a short distance along the very pock=marked Honey lane, at the corner of which a grey pony was on sentry duty. A small variegated rhododendron sheltered in the shade along a verge.

At the far end of the lengthy Charles’s Lane

we diverted to Neacroft, where an unusual pair of ducks crossed the road. The female burrowed in the undergrowth while her splendidly top-knotted drake stood guard.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jacke drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Pinot Noir.

“A Lovely Autumny Day”

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Pumpkins and skulls

We began the day with a trip to Everton Nurseries to buy four more slabs of reconstituted stone for the new bench base. Sadly, artificial Halloween pumpkins and other scary things were being arrayed at the entrance. What has happened to the pleasure of making your own carving? Sadder still, I noticed a heap of dog turds in the car park. Someone had allowed their dog to dump where others may wish to tread. I informed a staff member who picked up the offending material with a plastic bag.

I soon cheered up as we drove through the forest.

Austin 7 being transported

Somewhere near Bramsgore an Austin 7 was being carried on a low trailer.

Tree bole 1Stump on hedgerow 1HedgerowIvy-bearing bole on hedgerow

We stopped on Charles’s Lane near Ringwood, where Jackie had noticed rows of gnarled boles of trees that had lived and died over centuries of accumulated hedgerow boundaries. I spent a pleasant time wandering up and down photographing these,

Shadows on forest floorForest trees 1Forest scene 1Forest fernsForest trees 2Forest scene 2

and the forest scenes beyond them. Leaves are just beginning to fall and ferns are turning brown.

I have been unable to discover any history of this lane, but we feel that, judging by the ancient hedgerows, it is a very early one.

Cyclist on Charles's Lane 1

One cyclist ascended the slight incline and disappeared round a bend in the road;

Cyclist on Charles's Lane 2

another whirred into sight and whizzed downhill.

Acorns

The rapid machine gun fire that was acorns spattering the tarmac had me ducking for cover.

Horse riding on Charles's Lane 1Horse riders on Charles's Lane 2

Soon, even this rattling was eclipsed by the clopping of horses’ hooves. I stood on the verge, expecting perhaps a couple of equestrian carriages to round the distant bend. What appeared were a group of riders who slowed as they approached,

Horse riders on Charles's LaneHorse riders on Charles's Lane 4

and thinned out to a string, the young lady bringing up the rear being led by a rope.

Horse riders on Charles's Lane 5Horse riders on Charles's Lane 6Horse riders on Charles's Lane 7

Having, I thought, exhausted photographic possibilities I returned to the car. On the way the familiar clip clop indicated that the riders were returning.

Horse rider on Charles's Lane

Their leader paused for a chat, a comment that it was “a lovely autumny day”, and a wave goodbye.

Horse riders on Charles's Lane 8

Off they returned, on past

Railway bridge arch 1Railway bridge arch 2

the walls of a now demolished railway bridge, an overgrown example of ‘Beechingisation’.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent cottage pie, crunchy carrots and cauliflower, with most flavoursome first Brussels sprouts of the season. I finished the malbec.